Yes and No. No or Yes.
The words are bouncing around this ancient, red land.
‘And they are just words.’ giggles the little boy as he gazes fondly over his desert.
We ARE the voice and do not need justification nor opposition.
A vote only widens the ever-eroding gorge, as the Yes can be just as self-righteous and annoying as the No.
Does anyone remember my arrival? Do I? Not these new tribes!
Let me remind you: I am a small gift from Nogomain, just an ancient, spirit child passed onto mortal parents. Old Nogomain, created from nothing and nothing he will remain, not even a piece of fluff released from the wild, cotton scrub below.
I stand on the sandstone bluff I’ve stood on since I was a lost boy above where my parents wailed around the sacred fires and my totem lizard flicked his tongue at a deep orange sky.
Was I lost or did I wander away? No matter and I hold out my skinny arms like a white, Western Christ.
‘Blessed are the meek and the mild, not the noisy and the belligerent.’
Terra Australis where tribal women and men walked 60,000 years before the Kings and the Queens, when castles and fields of sheep were glints in an indentured serf’s eyes.
We have been free longer than the settled continents, and the grass in the wind still calls our secret clan names. The grass whispers:
‘Do not be seduced by the gleaming towers in the cities hugging the coast. Yes or No holds little sway over the forever people.’
And I listen to the grass as the seeds pop and the lorikeets swoop, their feathers snapping on the leaves and twigs.
We should not be determined by a vote because we are born to walk and hunt among the running emus. Watch them run as they kick up the dust from tracks made with feet long time leaving.
Is that their Saviour smiling down at me from the celestial clouds chuckling with a saint or two as they gaze in wonder out to a horizon lined by stunted trees that follow a water course dry since the last summer flood?
And listen to Malingee knocking his stone knees underneath his coal fire red eyes, his spiritual war chant echoing through pink cotton candy streaks around a sun that has had its time today.
Christ steps away and lets Malingee dance and howl. After all, this is His land, and he is not happy.
Knock, knock – go now as your voting rights were never caste in rock.
Knock, knock – the night chill will remind the Dreaming of the silence when you sleep.
Knock, knock – this big, bold land is a gift, and it has been desecrated since the arrival of your wooden boats with their dirty, white sails and fraying ropes.
Dungog and whale slaughtered for fat.
Coastal reeds stripped and oyster beds grinded into powder.
You had no right so how will a referendum make it better?
Malingee’s red eyes are now hooded and heavy and the stars extinguish his flame.
The silence is deafening because emotional honesty cannot be swallowed by an educated palate.
Malingee knocks and howls again.
How then, do the birds chatter so bravely, perched on trees that never give enough? How do they cope with a second-by-second run to the corner of that dying, drying creek?
Do not forget my spirit son, birds can fly, and height is not a relationship with wings but an attitude.
So, soar high over the mulga where the ants track to a hint of moisture we all yearn. Strange how the meagre damp provides not only sustenance but succour.
I drop to my knees and pray on an altar of discarded rock and wilting gum bark and thank my ancestors for the dreaming that brought me to this plain.
You will be provided for if you ask but the asking is the hardest part, and you did not ask so how can you vote with a permission never given?
It shows a lack of gratitude, as we all live on the lucky country where luck is mother nature’s choice, and she now chooses disruption.
You argue and posture like children with your placards and speakers blasting off cut sandstone steps, because Malingee sees you and you refuse to let go of your power and grow up.
Put down your signs and go back to your loved ones. Watch the wombat as she waddles to her hole and maybe you will learn humility from her simple routine.
Small, spirit child climbs down the rocky ravine onto the plain below and the cold envelopes him like a wall of crystal fire.
‘A man or woman’s character dictates their fate’ And this fate seems ordained.
The child’s shadow is translucent and just like the rhetoric, he is lost once more.